Chris Lighty, the manager of prominent hip-hop artists including 50 Cent, Diddy and Mariah Carey, died Thursday morning in New York in an apparent suicide, police sources say. He was 44.
Lighty, who died of what police sources say appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was found inside his Bronx apartment, reportedly after an argument with his ex-wife, Veronica. The two divorced last year.
According to various reports and law enforcement sources, Lighty also owed significant debts to the IRS, totaling near $5 million.
Around the time of the divorce, Lighty's management firm, Violator Management, merged with a second firm to become Primary Violator. Lighty got his start in management when he joined Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons' firm Rush Management in the late '80s. Past clients included Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and Nas.
Artists and fellow managers expressed shock at the news on Twitter. Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's manager, said: "Hard to believe it is true but RIP to my friend Chris Lighty. gone too soon." Russell Simmons added, "RIP Chris Lighty. Today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects."